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Outlives what smiles it may induce by about 200 pages.

DeWitt (aka Allan Woodrow, author of The Pet War, 2013) delivers a repetitious sequel to The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School (2013).

Soon-to-be seventh-grader Wilmer Dooley and his friends head to a remote hotel for a science fair. On arrival, the attendees start behaving oddly; Wilmer is sure his returning nemesis, Claudius Dill, is responsible. He tries to investigate, but he’s hampered by his fellow students’ peculiar behavior as well as their jealousy—but mostly by the unwanted attentions of Harriet, who thinks Wilmer is amazing. Can he use his powers of observation to find out what is really going on? And will he be able to tell Roxie, girl reporter, how much he likes her? This second Mumpley Middle School tale again attempts humor focusing on food: Wilmer’s mother adds ludicrous ingredients to her cooking, pal Ernie is always hungry, his dad is known for his BUZZZ! goodies. To this, DeWitt adds frequent phone calls about fake punny diseases to Dr. Dill and more frequent nonsense spouted by mind-controlled kids…but it’s just not funny. For a genius, or even a smart kid, Wilmer is pretty dim. His supporting cast is to-a-man annoying, especially Harriet, and all the adults are either boringly, bumblingly evil or daftly negligent. What real science facts there are can’t recommend the title, since they will be lost to the target audience amid the fake science facts.

Outlives what smiles it may induce by about 200 pages. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9854-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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